NORTHWICH Library and the town’s museums could be run by an independent charity under a review of Cheshire West’s cultural services.

The public are being asked for their views on future of the borough-wide services, which include libraries, museums, arts, events and archaeology.

The public consultation runs until December 2, and outlines three possible options for the future delivery of the cultural services.

One is for Cheshire West and Chester Council to continue to retain delivery of the services.

A second would see them delivered through a wholly-owned company established under the direction of the council.

The third could see the services delivered through a separate independent social enterprise or charitable organisation.

“It is important that people in Cheshire West have access to affordable, vibrant and exciting activities,” said Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for culture, leisure and wellbeing.

“Services like our libraries and museums, along with our arts, events and archaeology teams, are at the heart of our communities.

“With the needs of residents changing, and in the light of recent cuts to public spending, we need to look at how we can deliver what residents want more efficiently by getting all these services to work together instead of separately.

“We will explore how we can work with partners, and examine different delivery models, to support delivery of our vision for culture in Cheshire West and Chester.”

Of its cultural services the council has a statutory duty to only provide an efficient and effective library service.

The council has 25 libraries, including Barnton, Northwich, Sandiway, Tarporley, Weaverham, Wharton and Winsford, as well as a home library service for housebound people, a mobile library and online digital library, and had 1.4 million visits to the libraries last year.

The consultation document says the council aims to provide the best library service it can provide within the available budget, and is considering a variety of options, one of which is to review opening hours.

The public are being asked to choose between options of opening longer or maintaining existing hours but in fewer locations, or opening for fewer hours in existing locations, if changes to hours were agreed.

The museums service comprises five sites, including Weaver Hall Museum and Workhouse and The Lion Salt Works at Northwich, and the council supports between 350 and 400 arts and other events each year.

The consultation document and questionnaire contains background information on each of the culture services provided by the council, and their aspirations for working differently in the future.

The document says the proposed options for providing cultural services in the future should be considered against the backdrop of further cuts in public spending, which it said would have an impact irrespective of the delivery model chosen.

“I would like as many residents as possible to read our consultation document and complete the questionnaire, to let us know if we’re going in the right direction,” said Cllr Gittins.

“Your views will shape the future of these services. Please also encourage your children to get involved with the consultation – they need a say in what they want in the local area.

“We will be running events and activities to make sure children and young people are involved in shaping our services for the future.”

The consultation document can be accessed online, and printed copies will be available in libraries, museums and council buildings.

For more information visit

You can provide comments by emailing, calling 0300 123 8123 or writing to Cultural Services Consultation, Research and Intelligence Team, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Council Offices, 4 Civic Way, Ellesmere Port, CH65 0BE.